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PokerStars' Poker Revenue Falls Five Percent In Q2

Users, Revenue Decline For Real-Money Poker During Three-Month Period

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The Stars Group on Wednesday released its financial results from the second quarter ending June 30, including key data on the world’s largest poker site in terms of players and revenue.

Poker revenue on PokerStars, which controls some 70 percent of the worldwide online poker market, was $202.9 million during the quarter, a decline of 5.9 percent year-over-year. The result follows revenue of $218.7 million from Q1 of this year, which was a 1.1 percent gain year-over-year. However, that was the first increase in three quarters.

Stars said that win from its house-banked, casino-style games, including its online sportsbook, was $89.6 million during Q2, an increase of 50.2 percent year-over-year.

Total quarterly revenue of $305.3 million was 6.8 percent better than the $285.7 million won during the same period last year. Additionally, the Canadian firm’s Adjusted EBITDA of $146.5 million was 12.8 percent more than the $129.8 million from Q2 2016.

Poker is representing an increasingly smaller percentage of the pie for the network of Stars’ online gambling products. Real-money online poker revenue and real-money online casino and sportsbook combined revenue represented 66.5 percent and 29.3 percent of total revenue for the quarter, respectively, compared to 75.5 percent and 20.9 percent from the prior year period.

Poker and casino traffic

The company said that its “Quarterly Real-Money Active Uniques” (QAUs) for poker were about two million, a decrease of about four percent year-over-year. That was largely attributed to a “decline” on the Full Tilt sister site, Stars said. Full Tilt’s player pool was merged with PokerStars’ in mid-2016.

As for house-banked casino play, Stars said that it had 547,000 QAUs in the second quarter, an increase of about 33 percent year-over-year. Its fledgling online sportsbook offerings had 251,000 QAUs, up eight percent compared to the same period last year.

Altogether, QAUs of about 2.1 million represented a drop of two percent year-over-year.

Stars said that it added two million customer registrations during the quarter, growing the company-wide total to about 113 million. That means that about two percent of customers in the Stars database gambled online last quarter.

U.S. lobbying

Stars said that it spent $3.5 million on U.S lobbying and legal expenses in the quarter, up from $3.4 million in Q2 of 2016. Stars operates in the regulated New Jersey online gaming market, but it’s also pushing for online gaming in states like California and Michigan. PokerStars could also be a player in Pennsylvania, which looks like it will have a good chance to legalize online gambling this fall.

Final payment made for PokerStars

Stars said that in May it made its final payment on the outstanding balance of the deferred purchase price for its $4.9 billion acquisition of PokerStars’ parent company in August 2014, which included the remaining balance of $47.5 million and about $870,000 of associated fees.

Previously, Stars paid $200 million of the deferred purchase price in November 2016, $75 million in February 2017 and $75 million in April 2017.

Name change

The company formerly known as Amaya Gaming completed its name change to The Stars Group on Aug. 1, 2017. Stars’ headquarters were also moved to Toronto. The company is now listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “TSG” and “TSGI” on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The NASDAQ stock shot up nearly six percent on the news of the second quarter results.