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Playtech boss hits out at listed rivals for ‘black market’ gambling

Mor Weizer told the Standard it was “frustrating” to be compared to fast-growing companies that had a larger presence in unregulated markets than Playtech (Alamy/PA)
Mor Weizer told the Standard it was “frustrating” to be compared to fast-growing companies that had a larger presence in unregulated markets than Playtech (Alamy/PA)

The boss of gambling tech provider Playtech slammed highly valued rivals listed outside of London, accusing them of doing business in “black markets”.

Mor Weizer told the Standard it was “frustrating” to be compared to listed firms that have seen a boom in their revenues and share price, but do business in countries where online gambling is illegal.

“Other suppliers are very significant in grey markets or black markets,” he said. “It is less helpful when they operate in black markets and use that money to penetrate regulated markets. We know some that operate in sanctioned markets, countries on the US sanctions list.”

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“It is frustrating to see people compare us to public companies that are growing very quickly. But they are growing in unregulated markets and shrinking in regulated markets. We are growing in regulated markets.”

Weizer didn’t mention specific rivals, but some other suppliers have seen astronomical growth in recent years amid a decline in the share of revenue that comes from regulated markets.

Playtech does business in some Asian and Latin American countries where online gambling is unregulated, though often not specifically outlawed, but the revenue from these markets declined in the first half as the firm focuses more on countries where betting is fully regulated.

Weizer said: “Our focus is on regulated markets. And the regulated part of our business is growing double digits.”

Playtech’s shares trade at a lower multiple than some of those rivals listed elsewhere. But while many have seen lower values for tech stocks in London as an indictment of the City, Weizer said London investors understand the firm’s strategy.

“Shareholders in the UK are very sophisticated and are very conscious of regulated activity, regulated markets, strict regulated environments,” he said.

Today, Playtech revealed that revenue was up 8% to €860 million in the first half of the year, and profit grew by 10% to €220 million. That came despite a 2% decline in UK revenue, as firms begin to implement new safer gambling rules that were announced by the Government in April.