The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in online poker and casino games starting in March, in an April 17, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in online poker and casino games starting in March, in an April 17, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Stars Group says first-quarter revenue a record, up 27 per cent

COVID-19 boosts online gambling

TORONTO — The Stars Group Inc. says it saw record revenue in its first quarter as COVID-19 led to an increase in online poker and casino games starting in March.

And, it says, it has continued to see increased activity in its online poker and casino business into the second quarter.

In an update to its expectations for the three-month period ended March 31, the company says it expects revenue of approximately US$735 million, up from US$580 million in the first quarter of 2019.

The company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, also expects a net loss between US$69 million and US$79 million or between 23 and 27 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of US$28 million a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, the Stars Group expects a profit between US$185 million and US$192 million for the quarter or between 63 and 65 cents per share, up from an adjusted profit of US$106 million in the first quarter of 2019.

The Stars Group has signed a deal to be acquired by Flutter Entertainment in a combination that will create one of the world’s largest online betting and gambling companies. A meeting of the Stars Group shareholders to vote on the deal is set for April 24 using a virtual only format.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2020.

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