Live Studio Games Lift Evolution Revenues 7.2% Year-Over-Year, Q1 Earnings Reveal

Steven Melendez

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Profit at B2B online casino provider Evolution rose 7.2% to 269.2 million euros (roughly $288 million) in the first quarter of 2024 compared the same period last year, the company announced Wednesday morning.

“I’m pleased with our financial performance in the first quarter, and we are definitely well-placed to deliver a strong 2024,” CEO Martin Carlesund said in a conference call Wednesday.

The quarter also saw Evolution’s operating revenues rise 16.7% to 501.5 million euros ($537 million), as the company rolled out new games in both its live-streaming and random number generator (RNG) powered segments. Evolution provides its games to operators of online casinos across the world, including in a newly confirmed deal with bet365.

“It’s an honor for us to work with bet365, finally,” Carlesund said. “We worked on that for I think a decade or so, and — eventually — we are there.”

Evolution’s first new live game of 2024 was, appropriately enough, Stock Market, “set in the volatile, exciting world of financial markets.” The Sweden-based company also released more than 20 new RNG-powered games in the first quarter and plans to release more than 100 new games in 2024, Carlesund said, including a new live game in its popular Lightning series and a new live take on baccarat.

“Demand for online casino games continues to grow, partly as a result of our continuous launch of new games and variations on traditional games,” according to the company’s quarterly report.

Live games, bustling studios

The company calls itself the top B2B provider of live online games, which feature broadcasts from physical studios, and they contributed the bulk of the company’s revenue and growth. Evolution saw 431.3 million euros ($461 million) in revenue from live games, up 19.8% over the same quarter last year, and 70.1 million euros ($75 million) from RNG games, up 0.8%.

“The online casino market grows at a high pace and we continue to see great commercial opportunities worldwide,” Carlesund said.

Earnings before interest, taxes, debt, and amortization rose 15.2% to 345.8 million euros ($370 million) in the first quarter. 

In North America, Evolution added Fanatics as a client, with players able to access live online casino games through the Fanatics Sportsbook app in multiple states. The company also expanded its deal with Caesars Digital, with plans to open new live gaming studios in several states, including in Caesars’ Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City. And a new partnership with Rush Street Interactive made Evolution’s online slot games available through the Delaware Lottery’s three affiliated online casinos, with live games expected to be available to Delaware players soon. Evolution’s games generally become available in U.S. states as regulations allow, Carlesund said.

“We are essentially waiting in a number of states, just for the political process to conclude,” he said.

Evolution also in February announced a deal to acquire Livespins, which lets players “bet behind” the performance of online streamers and influencers. Carlesund also confirmed reports of the deal with bet365 to provide live gaming to its customers. “I think they have a vast amount of players who will enjoy playing with Evolution,” he said. “We look forward to that.”

The CEO pointed to “stable organic growth in Europe and very robust growth in Asia,” with a new studio launched in Bulgaria in the fourth quarter of 2023 and plans for a new studio in the Czech Republic this year. Revenue in Latin America rose 10% to 33 million euros ($35.3 million), and the opening of a new studio in Colombia is also underway. Growth in the region may have been hampered by casino operators waiting on upcoming regulatory changes in Brazil, Carlesund said.

Evolution’s headcount, which includes employees needed to operate those live casino games, rose above 20,000 for the first time after a focus on recruitment to meet demand. The company intends to continue to hire as it adds new virtual gaming tables, he said. “We’re going to build the right amount of tables to get the maximum amount out of the markets for 2024,” he said.

The company’s board has proposed a 559.3 million euro ($597.8 million) total dividend in advance of the annual meeting scheduled for Friday. That follows a recently concluded 400 million euro ($427.5 million) share buyback.